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pennstate71
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 4/14/2010 8:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey everyone...I just posted this in the Fibro forum - but realized this was probably the better place to post it...
 
I'm sort of freaking out and could use any suggestions or personal experience.  I am very excited that I was called so early to be evaluated for this all encompassing outpatient Chronic Pain Rehabilitation program and my evaluation is next Friday ( I found out most people are on a waiting list for a while, but my doctor must have really talked them into seeing me right away).  In any case, I just found out today that it's a 4-6 week program that is every day for around 7-8 hours for at least the first 4 weeks - then they may back you down to 3 or 2 days a week until you are released.  I definitely dont have that much vacation time (our vacation/sick/bereavement is sort of all in one bucket here).  So I'm really worried - I know we have short term disability but if it only ends up being 4 weeks, does short term disability usually work for that small of a period?  I know I may have to take a week or so vacation first - I'm just worried about how it will all work.  Between my mortgage and my student loans, if they pay me any percentage less than what I'm making now I can't cover my bills.  There may be a way to get my student loans deferred, but I don't know if all of them will work - especially the big chunk of private ones...
 
I really really need to do this program, but I'm freaking out about what this could do to me work-wise...I know I'm protected, but it's still scary.  I also know that I'll be doing work here and there from home most likely - so does that play into the pay or affect the ST disability at all?
 
thanks to anyone who can provide any guidance...I'm sooo overwhelmed right now shakehead

keep the faith
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 4/14/2010 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
 
I'm a retired Human Resources professional and yes you may apply for whatever length of leave you need if this is the FMLA Family Medical leave act you are using. you will need documentation. Talk to your HR person. This usually includes your 'bucket 'of  paid leave and the other kicks in usually not at your full pay.

Screaming Eagle
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 4/14/2010 9:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, Keep the faith took the words right out of my mouth! Fmla should be good for up to 12 weeks, and some company's will let you file an additional 12 weeks on top of that. I'm a thinking that the rules may differ from company to company. The company I work for, uses all of my sick leave and or vacation up to 80hrs, before Fmla will kick in.

You may be eligible for short term disability at that time. Mine is somewhere around $365 a week, and then of course taxes will come out of that.

I also think FMLA can be taken consecutively or intermittently, but you must let them know that up front when you file.

Usually your Dr will determine the length of time you will be off for medical FMLA. If I'm in error here, Keep the Faith will correct me on this. HR always has the last word on this! :)

SE
DDD (Degenerative Disk Disease) S1-L4-L5, Heart Attack 2002, Angioplasty to clear blocked Artery and to implant Stent. Six Epidurals, Disocgram, Melanoma Cancer 07, Lumbar Fusion March of 2010, Four cortisone injections Tendinitis in Elbow.


pennstate71
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 4/14/2010 11:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for all of your input. Our firm definitely has both long and short term disability - so do I have to take FMLA before Short term disability or is that up to the employer? I'm not sure if there's a difference in how much I will be paid - it's just that this program assesses how long you stay in based on your progress so I really don't know how long that will be. They also mentioned they could do like 3 all day sessions and then have 2 off but I'd have to keep doing the stuff on my own for at least 4-6 hours a day if I chose that route....or choose to do 4 hours a day and go to work part time then do the other 4 on my own - I just feel like if I'm going to be paying the same thing I should get the full benefit of their help. I don't really know what to ask or go for and I can't find a copy of our Short Term Disability now. The company is great and actually takes it out of our pay, but then increased our pay to cover what they take out. I'm just scared about using all of my time because I know I'll have to take sick days the rest of the year - and I guess cancel that vacation that's already paid for in August....ugh. I also just changed my FSA account to take the max out - $2500 - before taxes so I'll be getting less per pay but it will probably be gone halfway through the year based on my meds and this treatment alone.

My dad's an HR specialist and technically I have family ties to the business - which I never like to use...I just know if I'm getting $50 less than I am now I won't make the bills...but since I dont know how long I'll be out - or even if I get in I don't know what to tell the student loan companies or my company. She said they only take 8 people at a time, so if I wait until my appointment and they start me right away and I haven't talked to my company I'm screwed....or it could take 2-3 weeks. I am blessed that I can still have a life - but these medical bills and this affecting my job is just driving me crazy...AND on top of that I don't want anyone to know and if I take this time everyone will since its such a small company. Saying I'm going to rehab doesn't sound like a good thing if you know what I mean, haha.....ugh.

keep the faith
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 4/14/2010 12:36 PM (GMT -7)   
You usually use short term disability first . and yes FMLA can be used intermittently. Use documentation and be sure you understand what you are using and when with HR. HR will know you are in rehab or whatever you are calling this because you need the doctor's note and they use it to document FMLA. (this is audited by the gov.)  there is nothing you can do about that. They have a right to know why you are out and should be supportive and keep their mouths shut in the office environment. All good HR people do.
 

bsjaguar
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 974
   Posted 4/14/2010 2:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Here's the way I am seeing this. Unless you can afford to be without pay for awhile you will need to file for your companies short term disablility ahead of time. This is normally not something that can be started overnight and it will need to be preapproved through whoever handles your companies disability program. From my past experience FMLA is unpaid leave unless you work for a very generous company.

I think you need to go and speak with someone in you HR dept. You have alot of what if questions and obviously can't afford to miss your paycheck so best to have your facts straight before jumping into anything. Hope this helps and good luck.
---Jag---
 
DDD, osteoarthritis, facet syndrome, fusion surgeries C-5/7 & L-4/5 both in 2006, torn meniscus surgeries left knee 2000 & 2002, buldging disc L-2/3


pennstate71
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 4/14/2010 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all so much for your comments - I did see that FMLA and STD are used intermittently to protect my job which is great. We technically don't have an HR department - they sort of outsource when they need it since there are less than 30 people here...long story...but I'm hoping I can work something out since I will still be able to be on call and send any necessary information at the end of the day and complete some tasks at night or on the weekend. I am going to the headquarters next week to speak with my boss and whoever else I need to to at least plan for it. It will really stink if I don't get in - to stir things up for nothing...but oh well...you are right - the process is a long one and if they decide to make a claim and take the STD route, it will take time.

I really appreciate the feedback - obviously I was freaking out so thanks so much for all of your help.

keep the faith
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 91
   Posted 4/14/2010 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
  Bad news I didn't realize your company has less than 30 employees. companies with less than 50 employees are not required to grant FMLA. It is too difficult to cover essential jobs.
 

pennstate71
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 4/15/2010 7:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Yeah - had a conversation with my dad last night about that and he told me they aren't required (he's in HR so he helped me a lot). We are going to look into the policies and see what's best. Technically I could work from 3:30-11:30 every day or something like 3:30-8:30 then work weekends and it would be a reasonable accomodation for a disability - but that just seems like a lot when I'm trying the whole "rehab" thing. At this point I'm nervous that I'm not even going to get in because I'm so young and still working...this is kind of a be all end all of attempts to help people and although I really do think I'll lose my job if I keep going at this rate, and have tried a billion things to no avail - I just look healthier than a lot of people in this program...hopefully between the doctors and psychiatrists and recommendations they can see that. I'm just going to try to work something out with them, and if i can't get in writing that they guarantee my job will be there then I guess I won't do it. Of course they are a health care consulting company so it wouldn't look so good if they didn't let me...especially since I'm willing to work and we have some interns that could cover my load and I'm at a slow period right now. Ugh, well I'll be talking to the company that holds the policies today to at least see what my options are so I guess I'll go from there. Thanks you guys, as always you're very helpful.
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